Among the pageantry of the Olympics and the flashy promotions of the various sponsors, it can be tough for any one brand to stand out. Coca-Cola, a global sponsor of the 2012 summer games, did its best with numerous efforts that celebrated the best of British youth, whom it dubbed Future Flames.
For a year prior to the Olympics, Coca-Cola, aided by agency ignition, supported the search for 1,500 Future Flames to help carry the Olympic Torch on its 8,000-mile, 70-day tour of the U.K. Each Future Flame selection became a newsworthy local event, hosted by Coca-Cola and shared via videos and other posts on social media.
When the Olympic Torch and the Future Flames progressed throughout the U.K., a convoy of Coca-Cola-branded vehicles followed the route, playing music, giving away custom music mixes and other premiums, and of course serving ice-cold sodas. Coca-Cola also sponsored concerts nearly every day along the relay route, even setting up the Coca-Cola Beatbox, a pavilion designed by up-and-coming architects discovered via a national search. Not only did the Beatbox host live entertainment, but the structure itself and the pillows inside were musical instrument of sorts, with human movement generating sounds. Visitors could also take photos with the Olympic Torch and download them to social media at kiosks—and then pause for a refreshing Coca-Cola in a commemorative bottle.
Coca-Cola didn’t neglect the Olympians themselves. In the Olympic Village it created a traditional English pub, though this one was connected to social media and had a DJ booth where the athletes could create their own music mixes.
The campaign’s more than 1,500 pieces of media coverage generated more than 760 million impressions. More than 150,000 attendees visited the Coca-Cola Beatbox, and 56% subsequently bought a Coca-Cola because of their onsite experience. More than 1.25 million Coca-Colas were samples and 543,000 giveaways were distributed. And Tesco, one of the country’s “big four” supermarket chains, credits the promotion with its outperforming the market by 9%.